WILLOWICK, Ohio — Nancy Raggozino of Willowick is issuing a strong warning to all job seekers, especially to those looking to work from home after she nearly fell victim to a fake job offer that could have cost her thousands
Raggozino told News 5 she was sent an email job offer that claimed to have an annual salary of more than $70,000 and all she had to do was take funds sent to her, go shopping, and give reviews on local goods and services.
She said the bogus employer told her they would send her a $2,400 check and after she deposited the funds into her checking account, she could use the money to purchase gift cards.
Raggozino said she started to realize the job offer was a mirage.
“It’s very disappointing and you get your hopes up high," Raggozino said. “The email that I received I read over and over again, and I’m like this is too good to be true.”
“They informed me that they were going to send a check and wanted me to go out and purchase computers and digital gift cards. That didn’t seem right to me about sending a check.”
Kimberly Hoch with Akron Better Business Bureau told News 5 local complaints about bogus job offers are on the rise and said one of the latest Better Business Bureau reports indicate fake job offers have been on the rise since 2018, an increase the ongoing pandemic continues to fuel.
Hoch said local consumers have been instructed to purchase gift cards with the funds from the check and once the fake employers are given the gift card numbers and take those funds, consumers later realize the check is bad and the money from the check never makes it to their bank account.
“As the pandemic had hit we realized that wow this is a really serious matter," Hoch said. “People who were making really good incomes had suddenly lost their jobs and they were desperate to find quick solutions.”
“It seems like a quick easy way to earn money for consumers, and the fact that it comes across so legitimate is what’s so concerning to us. Never give your personal information over the phone, that’s where they’re able to get into your bank accounts and deposit these fraudulent checks. The BBB doesn’t know any reputable company that would implore you to go out and purchase gift cards.”
Hoch urged consumers to do their homework, and verify the employer's phone number, address, and contact information. Hoch said it's crucial job seekers check reviews on employers on its webpage and other sources to confirm the authenticity of any job offer before giving out any information.